STEM Remains Strong Contender for DonorsChoose Dollars
- By Dian Schaffhauser
STEM projects are continuing to make the top 10 as a category on teacher funding site DonorsChoose. According to the organization, over the past four years, computer science and coding projects grew two and a half times faster than other project types.
DonorsChoose is a nonprofit that encourages teachers to post their classroom project funding needs on the site and solicit donations from the public. During the latest year, the site has raised $87 million for a total funding of 163,323 projects.
Applied sciences-related requests made up more than nine percent of all projects funded for the 2018-2019 school year -- the highest it has been for the last five academic years. Math projects made up another six percent, but that share is only half of what it was for the previous year.
A "community impact" database made available by the nonprofit showed that a total of 15,114 applied sciences projects were funded for the latest school year; those involving math added up to 10,439.
While both subjects appeared in the top five ranking this year, successful requests related to literacy as well as literature and writing topped both. Literacy projects alone made up a quarter of all funded projects for the year (24 percent) and has appeared in the number one spot for the last five years; literature and writing was the category for about a tenth of projects in the current year.
Over the last five years, math as a category has experienced a dramatic swing in funding requests. In 2016-2017 it made up 23 percent of all projects, according to information from the database. Last year, it dropped to 13 percent. Applied sciences, on the other hand, has remained in the single digits for the last five years, growing from six percent in 2014-2015 to seven percent in the subsequent year, then shrinking to five percent for 2016-2017 and rising to eight percent in 2017-2018.
These aren't the only STEM categories in the DonorsChoose top-ten rankings. Environmental science showed up in the list four of the previous five years; and health and wellness, previously known as "health & life sciences" has appeared all five years.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.